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Long-range video transmitting

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marshall1031

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I would like to install a video camera in my rocket project but most of the transmitters I see don't claim to work past like 1000 feet. What type of system would transmit good quality video up to lets say 10,000 feet? Thanks.
 

jetra2

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I seem to remember something I read in one of those rocket video articles that said that the manufacturers calculate for sending a signal through walls and such, which impair the signal somewhat. I think that if you kept the transmitter pointed at the rocket during its flight, you can increase the range somewhat - probably dramatically...

HTH,
Jason
 

marshall1031

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Is there anyway I could digitally record the video signal to an on-board source instead of transmitting it?
 

Steward

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If your considering an analog type system...the problem with recording onboard is that the G-forces, as well as the vibration involved, would seriously degrade the quality of the video...if it works at all....secondly is the risk of losing such high quality (expensive) gear when it don't work right...!!!
Digital on the other hand will work...but then your really talking expense considering the length of a flight to those altitudes...bigger...better...$$$$...
I'm sure there are alot more knowledgable people online...so maybe someone could give more details...I can only dream of it on my retirement budget...LOL
 

marshall1031

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Would I need a digital video camera with the output from the other camera going to it to record video? Or could I use some other device intended for something like that so I wouldn't have to wedge a digital recorder in there? I just want to fly something very high and record the whole flight uninterrupted.
 

rabidsheeep

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i was looking and if you dont mind waiting for the return of the rocket, and its a rather large rocket, one guy recomended an intel kids camera that you can shave off the cover, use a mirror to reflect outside the rocket and downward, and you wouldn't have to worry about transmitters.

check it out here...

cameras
 

Steward

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Again..just my two cents....
I think the way to go would be to downlink the signal...record it on the ground...
having said that...you would need to have a stronger transmitter onboard...not easy (unless you have access to "broadcast" type equipment)...wich can be extremely heavy and certainly alot more expensive...
There are 2 or 7 gig transmitters that come in a variety of shapes or sizes...I've used (at work) one that would fit in a shoebox...but it weighs about 10-12 pounds....also, since we're talking microwave...that's a federal license to operate...(again.."broadcasting"...I'm retired from TV news and have done thousands of "live" remote broadcasts)...
There you go...expensive and heavy....
again just my 2 cents...BTW...I would love to come up with a system that would do what you (and hundreds more) want to do...that would be so cool...especially uninterupted...I've been wondering why anyone hasn't come up with a commerical type digital camera for rocketry...(you know..without having to mod or re-configure)...that we could buy and just insert in a body tube or nosecone...(not unlike the old Estes camrock or cineroc)....
 

marshall1031

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You said that downlinking the signal that far would get "expensive and heavy", so why do you recommend that? Why not have the video stored on-board? You could record to endless altitudes.
 

Steward

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It's not that I'm against having it onboard...my concern is simply the extreme conditions of (especially) high power flight...
In fact my only experience is with R/C helicopters, and that is like comparing apples to oranges...with the high frequencies involved in the metal to metal contacts and the tremendous vibrations inherant in model helicopters, onboard recorders didn't fare very well...
The raw power and extreme forces created by a large rocket engine would certainly affect the units ability to record. Most head to media tolerances would be minimal in a high "G" force situation...resulting in poor quailty if it records at all...(you've seen how video tapes seem to break up)...and I honestly have no experince in digital recorders, but seems to me that the same thing could possibly happen to the laser to disc system...
Like I said though, I'm certainly not an expert, and am really interested in what the limits of commercialy availble systems may be...please keep us posted in your search...'cause I'd like to do the same thing oneday.
As far as rocketry goes, I've been building and flying low power for years, and just now starting into mid-high power..so I'm certainly not comfortable in launching high dollar stuff when I don't know if I might ever see it again..(except on the video)...LOL
Good luck...
 

prowlerguy

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The BoosterVision people have introduced a high power version with a max range of 3000m (which is pretty close to your spec of 10K'). A little too pricey for an LPR guy like me, but if you are going that high, this is an option.

http://www.boostervision.com/hipower/features.html

As far as onboard recorders, if you have a rocket going to 10K', you probably have enough room for a pretty high-end DV solid state recorder. That would certainly be a rocket you don't want to lose, though.
 

Cheetah

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As far as "onboard" video recording - pretty useless if you need a realtime video downlink with overlay or if you don't recover the project.

With any "transmitting" video you've basically have 3 main variables that will affect how far you can transmit: Power, Freq, & the antenna design(s). Since the FCC basically regulates the 1st 2, without a HAM license that basically leaves the attenna design(s). I say designs because you need one for the transmitter, and one for the reciever. Given a set wattage & freq - for a rocket application it would make sense to use directional attennae to maximise the distance you can transmit/recieve. For ex:... think of the Beagle 2 lander on MARS... it's output is probably that of a cell phone... if not for the very directional attennae, it would never reach Earth, but of course if you're not pointed in the right directon you won't recieve the signal (which is probably the case with the Beagle 2.

The problem that I (and a friend) ran into with a video downlink project a few years ago was in trying to increase the distance of the transmitter antenna with the fact that most rockets want to roll (and then arc) during flight. While it's relatively easy to create an antenna with a "down" direction, it's quite another to come up with one that directs down, but doesn't tend to oscillate - that is the signal drops in & out. With the design we came up with the proper recieving antenna we easily made 3000 feet using one of the "spy" cameras... those ones that are suppose to go to 1000ft (or less). I should note that the rocket weighed ~9 lbs, the video payload was ~2 1/2 lbs, 1 lb of which was the 12 AA batteries to drive the transmitter (color & with sound!). We had no drop out to speak of. BTW... you also need a reciever and recording device - something that was a bit harder ($$$) to come by back in '98.
 

mccr3328

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If you are looking to do small LOW cost video ,check out the Aiptek DVII or DVIII camera sold at Best Buy or on Ebay Cost $99 0r less, add a 256 mb media card and you have over 1hr of on board video. No transmitter, no antena, TV VCR ectNo range problems and Sound! I have flown mine in the nose of an estes Big Dady with a 29mm moter mount all the way up to a PML amram on an I , No problems ,just be sure you launch in a large enough field to recover. Even it you lawn dart the media card will survive ! It happened !I have several downlink cameras and the DVII beats them every time. Good Luck.:kill:
 

solrules

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Yeah, i had a Aiptek Pencam 1.3M with a 128MB SD card......all in a customized LOC starburst. Why, oh why, did i not put enough ejection in? well, needless to say, it lawndarted. Camera was literally in hundreds of pieces (it hit half (long story) of a bulkhead and the nose cone). I was sure I was out $70 for the camera and just as much for the SD card, but whoo, the SD card is still intact. One thing to note, however, is that the Pencam (not sure about the DVII or DVIII) needs a split second of power to record sort of a lead out for the SD card. WHen the rocket bit the dust, the camera could not write a lead out, and there is no data on the card of the crash (that would have been sooooo cool). Maybe the data is on the SD card, just in lost data clusters. I have not gone further with that idea, as i do not have a SD card reader. You can see the video from my first (an only successful...yet) flight on my website in the sig.

As i recall, there is one camera on aipotek's site that can do 15-20fps (not sure) that is not too expensive <$110, i think. I would definatly go with that camera (Dv3100, maybe?) for the sole purpose of the framerate. My pencam bets about 6-7pfs, and that should get about 15pfs, not too shabby for $110+128MB CF card of course. I dont think you need 1 hour of video, unless you plan on flying the camera, and then taking video on the ground of other rockets. A 128MB card will give you plenty of time for you to start recording, walk away, LCO give the go-ahead, and recover.

Meanwhile, I have been trying to order a AIptek DVII camera, but their site has been down.....for a long time....now its showing a Dell hosting solution. Anyone know anything about this?
 

Bullpup

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You can use a tape recording video camera in a rocket. Check out :
www.gbrocketry.com
They have done it in all of their flights. Upto 7 M motors in a rocket with a JVC digital camera. The only time the video seems to take too many G's is when the rocket hits the ground under chute. The jar from the impact stops the video for a half sec or so.
 
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